NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — As the new school year is set to begin, one question that is circling the internet and social media is which school divisions will require clear backpacks this fall.
13News Now reached out to each school division in the seven cities. Newport News Public Schools is currently the only school division that requires students to use a clear backpack. NNPS is providing each student with a clear backpack, as well as a small opaque pouch to carry personal items in.
The requirement in Newport News came after the school board laid out a safety and security plan in February, addressing the concerns brought on by a first-grader shooting his teacher Abby Zwerner, as well as other threats that followed the event.
Hampton City Schools will not require clear backpacks, but school leaders say they are boosting safety procedures across the division. They've added weapons detection units as well as ballistic film at all schools.
School divisions on the south side -- Portsmouth Public Schools, Virginia Beach City Public Schools, and Chesapeake Public Schools -- say there's no clear backpack policy in place.
Suffolk City Public Schools division leaders say they have handed out free backpacks to any student that wanted them, but it's all on a volunteer basis. There is no mandatory policy.
Williamsburg-James City County Schools said they do not have a backpack policy addressing clear backpacks.
Lastly, 13News Now also heard back from Isle of Wight County Schools. A spokesperson said the school division does not require clear backpacks for the school day, however, school officials are looking at clear bags for athletic events.